Lost Magnificence – Colored Gemstones Part 1

There is something that tugs at my imagination when I see emeralds.  Seeing the color of leaves and grass turned into a gemstone always amazes me.  The Russian Court was a magnet for extravagance on so many levels and these examples show just how they did that.

The baroque setting for the square cut emerald of 137 carats is fabulous.  This vivid emerald measures approximately .75-inch x .875-inch and must be enormous.  What I find appealing is the setting of the smaller diamonds set between the larger round diamonds, surrounding this beautifully step cut emerald.

At the end of the 19th century, there was a revival of 18th century jewelry forms, the “Plastron” or dress ornament among them.  In 1896-1897, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna ordered a set of emerald pieces made.  I’m not impressed with this piece because it looks awkward.  Its size is approximately 7-inches wide by 6.5-inches high.  I am giving myself permission to dislike this as I can’t envision this being worn comfortably due to its angles; I prefer round edges.

The chrysolite is a gem of impressive size weighing 193 carats, ringed by 30 brilliants and mounted as a pendant.  Chrysolite means “golden stone” in Greek and this lovely olive-green stone – more commonly known as a peridot gives off a golden glow.  I’d love to see this dangling from a narrow intricate chain.

This set is described beautifully in the Catalog, pay special attention to the first paragraph about the bow.  This parure was worn by every tsarina.   I find this collection of rubies and spinels astonishing in its complexity and scale.  The earrings are captivating.

These beautiful colored gemstones can still be found in the Diamond Fund, exhibited in the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow, Russia.

There are more colored gemstones. Please join me next week for Part 2.